The Wire


Bern Nix has died

American Jazz guitarist who recorded with Ornette Coleman has died

Jazz guitarist Bern Nix has died, it was announced by friend and bandmate Matt Lavelle on Facebook. “It is with an absolute destroyed heart that I am here to tell you friends and family,” reads the post. “Rest In Peace Bern Nix.”

Nix was born in 1947 in Toledo, Ohio. He started playing the guitar as a child and later graduated with a degree in music from Berklee College of Music. Between 1975 and 1987, he played guitar in Ornette Coleman's Prime Time alongside fellow guitarist Charles Ellerbee. Ben Watson wrote in The Wire 79, “Since Bern Nix and Charles Ellerbee danced the harmolodic guitar into existence on Ornette Coleman's epochal Dancing In Your Head, there is a new type of jazz guitarist who goes beyond the conventional virtuosity of Scofield, Stern and Stevie Ray Vaughan”, with Barry Witherden and Tony Herrington (The Wire 181) describing Ellerbee and Nix’s lines as “entwining each other like rapturous serpents”.

While a member of Prime Time, Nix worked on Dancing In Your Head (1977), Of Human Feelings (1982), Opening The Caravan Of Dreams (1985), Virgin Beauty (1988) and others. In 1985 he formed The Bern Nix Trio, working with Fred Hopkins on bass and Newman Baker on drums, and later The Bern Nix Quartet, featuring Matt Lavelle on trumpet and alto clarinet, François Grillot on contrabass and Reggie Sylvester on drums.

Le Guess Who? announce first round of curators and artist

Plans are underway for Dutch festival Le Guess Who? including performances from Pharoah Sanders and Oumou Sangaré, and curatorial leadership from Grouper and Shabazz Palaces

This year's Le Guess Who? festival will take place between 9–12 November at various venues in the city of Utrecht, with the first list of curators and artists sets to be performed at this 11th edition being announced.

Curators for the events include Perfume Genius, who has invited Bulgarian women's choir Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Mount Eerie, Aldous Harding, Weyes Blood, and Pharmakon and Grouper will also be curating a stage with William Basinski, GAS, Keiji Haino and more. Also announced is Shabazz Palaces hosting Pharoah Sanders, OCnotes and Natasha Kmeto.

Also invited to help programme the event is Han Bennink. He's invited ICP Orchestra, Peter Brötzmann and will perform as the Han Bennink Trio. Plus Basilica Soundscape will host a stage with Jenny Hval, Protomartyr and a poetry reading by Meredith Graves (Perfect Pussy).

Jerusalem In My Heart have also curated a stage with a focus on African-American and Middle Eastern performers. Artists included are Linda Sharrock, Moor Mother, Matana Roberts, filmmaker and songwriter Alanis Obomsawin performing her 1988 album Bush Lady for the first time, Farida & The Iraqi Maqam Ensemble, and the Lebanese artist Abdel Karim Shaar who will present a traditional Tarab repertoire for his 2nd show outside of Lebanon.

This year will also feature The Black Power Tarot by King Khan and Game Of Thrones designer Michael Easton, and in collaboration with Alejandro Jodorowsky. The cards, which depict prominent African-American figures including Sun Ra, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor and Erykah Badu, will be exhibited during the festival, and King Khan will also be reading them for festival goers. A screening of Memphis Black Power Group documentary The Invaders, which inspired the Tarot cards, will also take place.

For a full list of artists announced you can visit Le Guess Who?'s website. Tickets are on sale now.

Heroines Of Sound takes place in Berlin this July

Three day event in celebration of women's contribution to avant garde music

July will see the fourth edition of Heroines Of Sound Festival at Radialsystem V in Berlin. The three day event will celebrate women’s contribution to avant garde, electronic and experimental music, featuring installations, performances, videos, talks and more.

Following last year’s focus on GRM artists, this year sees the spotlight shift to Polish electronic musicians and will feature a line-up that includes Electric Indigo, Chra, Katarina Glowicka, Pilocka Krach, Elźbieta Sikora, Heidrun Schramm, Jajoda Szmykta, Joanna Wozny and many more.

Heroines Of Sound takes place between 7–9 July.

Krakow Unsound festival passes sell out in minutes

The first wave of Unsound festival tickets all sold out moments after its line-up was announced

As announced earlier this year, Unsound Krakow 2017 will be based on the theme of Flower Power. Festival weekend passes went on sale on 29 May, the day Unsound made its first line-up announcement, and immediately sold out. Individual passes will go on sale this coming August, once the full Unsound line-up is completed.

Artists and events confirmed so far include Einstürzende Neubauten, Nina Kraviz, a new Grouper related project, premieres of Robin Fox's Single Origin (the third part in his trilogy for lasers series), and Iwan Gunawan and Stefan Lakatos's Moondog For Gamelan, featuring the pair performing a previously unheard piece on Moondog's trimba, Jlin, Gas, DJ Sprinkles, Zonal with Moor Mother, Nkisi, Juliana Huxtable, Varg and others. Many more artists are yet to be announced.

Full details can be found at the Unsound website.

Braga’s Semibreve festival makes its second line-up announcement

The Portuguese festival happening in October has added Beatriz Ferreyra, Gas and Rabih Beaini to the programme

Braga, Portugal’s Semibreve festival has made the latest line-up announcement for its seventh edition happening in October. New artists added to the previously announced bill of Deathprod, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Fis and Kyoka include Gas, Rabih Beaini, Lawrence English, Laurie Spiegel, Beatriz Ferreyra and Sabre.

The Edigma Semibreve Award is also back this year. Launched to promote and celebrate works that explore interactivity, sound and image supported through the use of digital technologies, the Edigma award offers a 2500 euro prize. Deadline for entries is 15 July.

Semibreve runs from 27–29 October at various venues.

Morton Subotnick documentary in production

Made by the team behind I Dreamed Of Wires, the new documentary launches the same year Subotnick’s 1967 album Silver Apples Of The Moon celebrates its 50th anniversary

Waveshaper Media, the makers of the 2014 modular synthesizer documentary I Dream Of Wires, have announced they’re currently producing a film on US composer and electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick. Titled Subotnick, the film will feature new interviews and archival footage to cover Subotnick’s career, from his history in co-founding The San Francisco Tape Music Center to his current touring schedule.

2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of Subotnick's Silver Apples Of The Moon, the first ever album released by Nonesuch Records. This year will also see the premiere of Subotnick’s new multimedia work Crowds And Power at New York City’s Lincoln Center from 20–22 July (where he'll also perform Silver Apples Of The Moon).

Though filming has already started, Waveshaper are attempting to crowdfund the project, with donators able to pledge for the 50th anniversary repress of Silver Apples, available as a limited edition coloured vinyl or, for the first time since 1967, as a cassette tape. It will include new sleevenotes by Subotnick, who will sign copies for pledgers.

Waveshaper are also about to release the Bob Moog documentary Electronic Voyager.

alt.vinyl announces closure after 13 years

Graham Thrower's online shop and label has announced it will close with immediate effect

alt.vinyl has announced that after 13 years and over 70 releases it is shutting down. Run by Graham Thrower, the label started life as a shop based in Newcastle, before moving to online sales only. It subsequently became a fixture of a vibrant underground scene in the North East, releasing albums by artists including Richard Dawson, Rhodri Davies, :zoviet*france: and many more.

On a statement on the website, Thrower says: “It's been great to have been a part of a global independent music community but the time is right... this cycle has come to a close. At the risk of a long post I'd just like to thank all those artists that alt.vinyl has had the pleasure to work with and release over the years,” and gave props to Volcano The Bear, Astral Social Club, Anla Courtis, :zoviet*france:, Family Elan, Meg Baird, Cian Nugent, Rhodri Davies, Hen Ogledd, Air Cushion Finish, Lichens and many more.

“Thanks to all of you out there, customers, supporters, press, stockists who have supported the label in your own way,” he writes. “It has meant a lot... It's been a trip... thanks for everything... graham/alt.vinyl”

Memoirs of pianist Maurice El Médioni to be published

This will be the first time the memoirs of the Algerian-Jewish musician will be published

Maurice El Médioni: A Memoir From Oran To Marseilles 1938-1992 is set to be published this summer by Repeater Books. Edited by Max Reinhardt and translated from French by Jonathan Walton, the book tells the story of this musician who has been considered to be grandfather of Algerian pop.

Born in 1928 in Oran, Médioni was an Algerian Jew who worked with Andalusian, Rai, Chaabi, Arabic and Sephardic music. He performed with Chaabi artists such as Lili Labassi, Line Monty, Samy el Magrhibi and Reinette l’Oranaise, as well as contemporary Rai artists like Khaled.

The book traces his early life in Oran, living through Axis occupation during WWII, his encounters with the Dominican and Puerto Rican GIs stationed in North Africa, the nightlife in Oran, the Algerian war of independence, and his subsequent emigration to France where he surrounded himself in the Parisian jazz and world music scenes.

Maurice El Médioni: A Memoir From Oran to Marseilles 1938-1992 will be published in this month with a launch party event in London set for 22 June. Details yet to be confirmed.

Second edition of Amsterdam's Online Radio Festival takes place this weekend

Latest installment includes live broadcasts, panels and performances at Muziekgebouw concert hall with streaming online

The second edition of the Online Radio Festival is due to take place in Amsterdam this weekend, presenting a mix of live radio, discussions and performances featuring broadcasters and DJs from across the world.

Following the inaugural 2015 edition, this year's festival returns to the Muziekgebouw concert hall complex with a day of events on Friday 19 May to explore and celebrate the continuing rise of online broadcasting. There will be radio shows hosted on site, streamed live across the world via the Muziekgebouw website, followed by a series of talks with innovators in online broadcasting, with two panels moderated by The Wire’s Derek Walmsley. The evening concludes with live and DJs sets at Muziekgebouw by I-F, Klein, Bear Bones Lay Low, and more.

Among the broadcasters in attendance and on air during the day will be Amsterdam’s own station Red Light Radio, London’s NTS and Boiler Room, Berlin Community Radio, Stroom from Gent, Radio Quantica out of Lisbon, and for the first time, South Africa’s Pan African Space Station. Panels on local versus global audiences and the place of politics in online radio will be moderated by The Wire Editor Derek Walmsley. It all takes place this Friday 19 May, and more details are available at their website.

Elaine Mitchener presents a Cagean happening this June

London's Kings Place will host a night celebrating John Cage's Song Books

This June, Elaine Mitchener Projects and King's Place will present a night dedicated to the lyricism of John Cage's Song Books. Published in 1970, it took form as a commission from Cathy Berberian and Simone Rist, and was constructed by consulting the I Ching ancient divination text. It formed three volumes - the first two consisting of solos for voice and he third being an instruction manual.

For this event the work will be presented as a happening “where we will wander and explore the Song Books, take our own path, ask our own questions and join the adventure,” says the programme.

Possessing Nothing: John Cage Song Books will take place on 10 June at 6.30pm, as part of King's Place's Poetry & Lyrics Festival.